Meet George Zaidan, science media jack-of-all-trades and rock climber!

Hi, I'm George Zaidan!

Geroge as a camera man way up in the mountains!
Filming a webseries for MIT in Craters of the Moon National Preserve, Idaho.

What do you work on?

I’m a TV and web host, writer, and producer/director. I mostly do science videos like this one (which I wrote and hosted) or this one (which I neither wrote nor hosted), but I’ve also done other stuff, like co-hosted CNBC’s Make Me a Millionaire Inventor. I honestly can’t believe I get to do this stuff for a living.
One of my more exciting recent projects is a documentary that follows ~10 NASA, MIT and ISU scientists and engineers to Craters of the Moon National Preserve in Idaho. It involved hiking through insane lava fields, flying drones, smashing rocks with giant sledgehammers… you know, all the standard stuff you expect when you get into moviemaking.

How did you become interested in chemistry, and what did you study?

I had a great chemistry teacher in high school and I was pretty stubborn, so when I first got to college, I didn’t really explore any other majors. I just followed the chemistry path and before I knew it, 4 years had passed and I was in the midst of an “oh crap, I don’t actually want to go to grad school, what do I do” panic attack. But it all worked out—I decided I’d take a risk and try and be successful in science media, and (after many false starts and dead ends) eventually did just that.
I'm the one holding the partially-digested hamburger.

What do you do for fun in your spare time?

I’m scared of heights and spiders, so my logical recreational activities are rock climbing and hiking. I really love it when those two particular fears come together (c.f. when you stick your hand in a hold way above the ground and a wolf spider scurries out) and then you fall off the wall in a blaze of pants-wetting glory. I also golf.
AHHHH, wolf spider! Image by Kugamazog on Wikipedia, public domain.
George demonstrating his climbing skills!
About 60 feet up.

What's your one piece of advice for people interested in chemistry?

Do what feels right, not what (you think) other people (might) want you to do.